Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ikanos' Residential Gateway Vision

Ikanos Communications ( a developer of silicon and software for broadband solutions, recently teamed up with D2 Technologies ( to demonstrate a quadruple play residential gateway (for OEM developers) running D2’s Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) software. The device is an amalgam of Ikanos’ Fusiv Vx180 VDSL2 gateway processor with D2’s vPort VoIP software. Both technologies combined enable a residential gateway to support voice (VoIP), video (IPTV), data (VDSL2) and mobile wireless services. Peter Ahimovic, Director of Marketing at Ikanos, says, “Ikanos’ history dates back to VDSL space focusing on CO and CPE side, first with VDSL1 and VDSL2 standards. Then, in early 2006, Ikanos acquired the network processor and ADSL team from ADI [Analog Devices, Inc.]. Our PHY, or layer one physical interface technology for VDSL1 and VDSL2, now joined ADI’s ADSL PHY technologies. Moreover, we combined our PHY technology with ADI’s Fusive gateway processor technology which took us into the gateway market. We can now offer chips and software to enable services such as high-speed Internet access, VoIP, Telco TV, Wireless LANs, Access Point (News - Alert) router-type functionality, security services, and so forth. We have several new products, such as the Vx170 and Vx180 VDSL2 gateway processor, based on the MIPS32 24KE core produced by MIPS.” “The market dynamics are trending in a way that we feel the need to converge the various pieces found in the digital home domain into a single box solution, a residential gateway, where you will have various means of broadband access, be it VDSL, ADSL, cable or even fiber-to-the-home PON-type technology,” says Ahimovic. “Basically we’ll see converging Infotainment, Security and Broadband Access. The services now terminated within the home are on the infotainment side. This includes all of the video services such as PDR, DVR, and media server-type applications, and of course you use a set-top box so you can display the video content. Then there’s voice – meaning terminating derived fixed-line voice, VoIP or fixed-mobile convergence [FMC] voice. And of course we have to provide security across the services, which includes firewalling, anti-spam, anti-virus, and so forth, since threats will always be coming through the broadband access points. Multiple devices in the digital home will be interconnected through the residential gateway and they’ll use an emerging ITU standard called G.HN, in which ‘HN’ stands for ‘Home Networking.’” “The ITU is creating an umbrella over the home networking standards that are available today,” says Ahimovic, “which are industry consortia-led technologies that currently have some technical pieces in common but don’t interwork at all, such as MoCA [Media over Coax Alliance], HPNA [Home Phoneline Networking Alliance], HomePlug, and so forth. So we’re talking about a sort of ‘super middleware’. We provide software, but we’re in the silicon business. We need to provide devices that can run this ‘super middleware’ and enable these services.” “When people talk about Network Attached Storage [NAS], they’re typically referring to a PC with a shared hard drive,” says Ahimovic. “But we believe that technology will migrate to the gateway. Indeed, our Home Media Gateway [HMG] concept incorporates a SATA [Serial ATA] drive so that it can easily offer NAS [Network Attached Storage] and DVR [Digital Video Recording].” “Today many ISPs provide the broadband access part,” says Ahimovic, “with VoIP-type capabilities, and WiFi access points for distributing the Internet access capability, and so forth. That we see carrying forward. Adding to that you’ll see femtocells, a fixed-mobile convergence technology where you have the ability for your cell phone work within your home by connecting to the network via a femtocell emanating from within the gateway, instead of the larger macro network as is usually the case. The gateway will handle the signaling and the voice traffic over its broadband connection. Basically it’s an IP connection from the gateway to the mobile service provider, and then from the gateway to your phone via the femotcell.” “We believe that femtocells will ultimately be a ‘killer application” for broadband access,” says Ahimovic. “The femtocell opportunity is being driven by increased service coverage in the home for voice, video and data as well as reduced operating costs for the wireless providers. Various opportunities exist to sell femtocells to existing broadband subscribers as well as new deployments.” “You may well ask what happens to the set-top box as all this technology appears,” says Ahimovic. “Today, of course, all set-top boxes are doing the video decoding that typically it’s super set-top box that is doing the DVR and multi-room DVR and so forth. Our vision is that DVR capabilities will be part of the gateway. It’s a device managed by the service provider, and has the ability to turn features on-and-off as desired by the subscriber, so it allows providers to derive additional revenue by offering features on a subscription basis, typically a monthly fee.” “You’ll see centralized content storage, centralized policy-driven management of the home media gateway [HMG] and peer-to-peer distributed storage too,” beams Ahimovic.


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